Monisha Sharma came to Wharton to learn how to lead businesses into change.
As a senior manager of mutual funds strategy at the Royal Bank of Canada in Toronto, we asked Monisha to tell us more about her career goals and experiences in Wharton’s executive MBA program.
Here’s what she said:
On Coming to Wharton
This is a time in many students’ lives when we’re at a turning point. We’re deciding where we want to go and who we want to be. Every one of us is here because we want to make ourselves better and change the world in some way. We are all driven to work hard to leave a lasting legacy.
Coming to Wharton gives us the opportunity and the skill set to assess and realize our options. We interact with peers who are at the top of their game and study under world-renowned professors.
Ultimately, I want to be at a business that I can really develop and help shape. Using the skills I’m learning at Wharton, I feel I can deliver on that goal.
I knew from the first week of school that the Wharton EMBA program would be fantastic. The people you meet are tremendous in every way. They are at the top of their careers or in accelerated trajectories.
The Admissions Committee does a great job in making sure there is a very diverse set of individuals in the program; not just diverse in what they do, but diverse in the industries they work in, the geographies where they come from, and the experiences they’ve had.
There also is a sense of camaraderie that you don’t usually find at universities. A lot of that has to do with the fact that we’re not starting out in our careers. We understand that the way to success is through collaboration. That is the cornerstone of our experience at Wharton.
On Broadening Perspectives
One of the reasons I came to an MBA program in the U.S. was Wharton’s global focus. I audited classes at several MBA programs locally, some within walking distance of my office. But I don’t think convenience is the number one factor to consider when you are investing in your education.
I wanted a school with international brand recognition. I also wanted a program that would give me new perspectives. Wharton has students from all over the world. They’re flying to campus from places like Moscow and Brussels, or traveling around the world for business. Everyone brings those perspectives back to the classroom and we are enriched by that.
When I go back to work on Monday after a Wharton weekend, I am able to apply what I learned to my job. Then, when I go back to Wharton for the next class session, I can discuss how it went and whether I did it right. I can also have informal conversations with professors about issues I’m facing at work and how I’m using the skills and frameworks from class. That is invaluable.
On the Executive Format
Wharton’s MBA for executives program allows flexibility that makes it possible to find a balance between work and school. A full-time program would have meant leaving my job, which I love, for two years and then looking for a job I already have. The EMBA format allows you to continue working while you enrich yourself. It’s an iterative process and you get a little better after each weekend.
On Learning Teams
Your first term is such a new experience because you’re back in school after a long time. Without the regular weekly call with my learning team to bounce ideas off of and talk about school, it would have been a lot harder. Knowing you’re not alone in this, and there are others you can lean on is very reassuring.
Posted: January 27, 2015